Date Published: 5 October 2006

NHS congratulated on progress on cancer waits (UK Govn)

UK Health Secretary
Patricia Hewitt

UK Government looks to go further on cancer waiting times

The NHS has made excellent progress on reducing cancer waiting times is the key message of the National Cancer Director in his report 'Waiting times for cancer: progress, lessons learned and next steps'.

Looking at how the NHS has made progress towards achieving the 31 and 62 day targets, Professor Mike Richards has highlighted the commitment of NHS staff and Trusts. The NHS has re-designed the way it delivers services to ensure that patients are diagnosed quicker and treated faster.

Mike Richards' report says we should now consider how we can maximise the number of cancer patients benefitting from rapid assessment, diagnosis and treatment. This could potentially be achieved by extending the coverage of:

The two week wait target, for example include all patients referred with breast problems, not just those deemed urgent by their GP
The 31 day target to cover all treatments, not just the first treatment, and
The 62 day target by giving hospital specialists the formal right to fast-track patients who they consider are likely to have cancer.

Professor Mike Richards said in his report:

" Cancer waiting times are important for patients. Over the past year the NHS has made excellent progress on cancer waiting times with full achievement of the 31 day target and near achievement of the 62 day target. This is already bringing major benefits to patients in terms of reduced delays and reduced anxiety.

_ I am delighted at the way Trusts have completely redesigned the way they deliver cancer services and are now tackling the root causes of long waits in diagnostics. This report outlines how hard, and how successfully, the NHS has worked to achieve shorter waiting times for cancer patients."

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said;

" The report by Mike Richards shows what can be achieved in the NHS when we look at how a whole system operates and how it can be re-organised to offer better, faster services to patients. Building on the progress we have made in cancer services, we are now in a position to look at extending the benefits of more streamlined services to thousands more cancer patients".

The Department will shortly be seeking the views of senior healthcare professionals and the voluntary sector on how to go further on cancer waiting times.


Also in the News:

UK Healthcare watchdog urges staff to take part to help improve care for patients - 4 Oct '06

New method to track disease could save lives - Australia - 4 Oct '06

Lord Warner launches discussion on urgent care (UK Govn) - 4 Oct '06

Award winning research offers hope for back pain sufferers - Manchester Univ - 4 Oct '06

Blood team to be put on standby in Scotland - 4 Oct '06

Hep C treatment side effects: finding your own cure - 3 Oct '06

NZ Researchers find new clue to treating diabetes - 3 Oct '06

New gene linked to depression and bipolar disorder (UCL Research) - 3 Oct '06

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